tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN December 24, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
it is 11:00 on the east coast i'm erica hill in today for fredricka whitfield. we begin with terror threats and breaking developments in that contradict market attack in berlin. this morning, three new arrests. one of them the nephew of the suspected berlin attacker. officials are now revealing recent conversations between the two. plus the u.s. on alert. as many prepare for christmas, just of course, one day away and hanukkah beginning tonight, the fbi and homeland security issuing a new warning about possible isis threats to church and holiday events. we want to begin with the latest on those arrests, linked to the suspected berlin attacker. chris burns is following the story from berlin. what can you tell us?
>> reporter: yes, erica, the three arrests, yeby tunisian authorities in tunisia. the interior ministry says among the three is a nephew of anis amri, the man who drove the truck into this market over my shoulder on monday. killing 12 people, injuring 48. his nephew, according to the interior ministry told them his uncle had told him to pledge allegiance to isis. even anis amri was part of this recruitment, according to what we hear from the tunisians. recruitment process through the abu walaa organization. that's the hate preacher here in germany who has been arrested. for years they have waged this training proselytizing and organizing. that is something that the german authorities are still worried about, even though anis amri was killed by italian police yesterday, the story is not over.
chancellor angela merkel says we have to stay on guard. we have to go after those who are connected to anis amri. >> there's a telegraph app we're hearing about. tunisian authorities say this was the app that was used for anis amri to communicate with his nephew. >> reporter: the app was started in 2013 by two russian brothers here in germany. it's an app, it started as a phone app and was expanded to a desk app. it's described as the app of choice for groups like isis. it has 100 million members, believe it or not. it has a very, very strong encryption. it has -- you can read a message and it destroys itself immediately. it also has secret chat rooms. and some of these groups have been known to publish kill lists or hit lists on that. because it's so secretive. and that is what authorities are up against.
the app or the organization telegr telegram, the company had removed -- had blocked some things for isis. there still remains others. that's what the house committee on foreign relations is saying they should be more active in blocking them. erica? >> we'll keep an eye on that. chris burns with the latest from berlin. thank you. on the heels of that berlin attack, the fbi and homeland security are warning of a new isis threat here at home. one targeting churches and holiday events. this, of course, as millions of americans prepare to celebrate christmas and hanukkah this weekend. paolo sandviloval is following s for us. what do we know? >> reporter: this waw issued by the department of homeland security and the fbi. this has been issued as millions of americans across the country get ready to attend hanukkah and christmas services and what officials are saying at this point, and what they're stressing on is that there is no credible active threat regarding a specific target in the united
states. this is a precautionary bulletin or warning, if you will, that's been issued there by federal officials to state, local, federal, law enforcement agencies as americans get ready to celebrate the holidays. at the moment we understand there is a pro isis website that apparently published a long list of churches and places of worship across the country. it also called on supporters to potentially launch attacks on churches. that's significant there because typically what we see from the organizations are threats against law enforcement or perhaps military targets. in this case, though, perhaps the softest of targets, that is a place of worship, as a result federal law enforcement agencies being proactive trying to get ahead of things here by issuing the warning. they're making it very clear, americans shouldn't have a reason to be afraid. simply be aware and be on alert as they get ready to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones. >> at the end of the day, this is essentially, just out of an abundance of caution. they say there's no specific credible threat? >> absolutely.
we've seen this before. if you look back at this time of year last year, you'll see there were similar bulletins that were issued to law enforcement. officials are very aware this is a time of year when americans are flying a lot, they're also gathering in groups. we expect that to happen for example in times square new york where you are. this is trying to get ahead of things, trying to give a word of warning to americans as they celebrate the holidays, again, a precautionary move at this point. >> thank you. >> you bet. for a closer look at the new terror developments in berlin and here at home, let's check in with our panel, michael wiesz, he's senior editor for the daily beast. and mike baker, former cia operations officer. as we look at this bulletin i was talking about with polo, it's an abundance of caution but it was sent out after this isis list published a list of churches here in the u.s. these types of lists have been
published before. how seriously should we take this warning? >> i mean, we have to take it seriously. isis has in the past, as you mentioned published lists of retired or active military officers. it seems like there's sort of dialing down the sort of nature of targets that they're trying to go after. hitting up marine recruitment centers or military installations or shooting up a police station that's more difficult than taking a truck and plowing it into a christmas market. shooting up a church is easy. we saw that in racist hate crimes in this country having nothing to do with islamic terrorism. i think now isis is extorting t the ultraradical reign they have perpetrated in the middle east. in raqqah they burnt down the christian churches there. this is a new tactative whic wh
comes to targeting the west. >> in terms of it being a new tactic, one could make the case it plays into what they want to do and that is to get into the psyche of different cultures in areas in this world that they don't necessarily like. so if you're putting this out, talking about churches, talking about places of worship on christmas eve, tonight also happens to be the start of hanukkah. how much is that the focus, do you think for some of these groups to simply get into the minds of people, perhaps not even follow through on an attack? >> well, it's an aspect of terrorism, at large. michael is right we have to take it seriously. i would say this, this evolves. all right. so if we just look at isis, just look at the islamic state and you consider what their early calls were. as they were forming and claiming territory and the call was come out, join us. be part of the fight. come to syria, come to iraq. be here. this start today evolve and morph as ground conditions
changed. and as the leadership started evaluating their effectness it became stay where you are, use whatever resources you have and go after the targets. terrorists, much like criminals will, because they step through the same operational projects when target selecting, they pick the soft targets. wea we've been moving in this direction as a while when they're looking at churches and public vents. it's part of the extremist concept. here comes an important date, it's not expected the sort of warnings that come out from law enforcement. >> when we look at what we're learning from tunisian officials who announced three arrests, one of them is anis amri's nephew. we're told they were communicating on this app and that he was asking the nephew to pledge his allegiance to isis.
is this proving that this recruitment network that amri was affiliated with in germany may have a broader reach beyond germany? >> absolutely. using your family, whether it's the immediate family or extended family, this is the oldest trick in the book for terror organizations. i'll give you a few examples. salah abdusalaam and his brother was part of the paris attacker. there's another guy, he was the deputy head of isis' foreign intelligence service. this was a guy who had been entered in iraqi in 2003. his brother led an active campaign for his release in belgium. and once it was known that he was released he came back to belgium and went by to syria. the brother was involved in terrorist activities and recruitment in belgium as well. this is how isis likes to ply
its trade. you know, they know that the people that they're trying to recruit and cultivate, their contact list the people they would trust the most are those in their own immediate families. this is not surprising at all that his relatives had something to do with it. >> mike baker, we learned a little bit more from chris burns about this app, the telegram app. i was a little surprised by the numbers, 100 million users, it's got a strong encryption where the messages can be erased after their read and this is how they were communicating. what's happening online is one of the areas that is the most challenging and most immediate in terms of a concern. is there a way to effectively crack down on apps like this and so therefore crack down on the communication? >> well, i think it's more likely, you know, the effort is put to try to stay one step ahead. terrorists, criminals and
probably teenagers are the prime users of the new developments in applications for communicating for messaging. and, you know, whether you're talking about nsa or any other service within the intel community here in the u.s. or around the globe. typically what you're trying to do, because, you know, what happens with laws and privacy rights and efforts in government to try to exert influence on development on these things or the use of these things, that's separate. from an operational perspective you're trying to stay even or you know, perhaps if you get lucky one step ahead and understanding what developments are out there. what messaging systems are being used. to michael's point, you know, oftentimes, you know, the real communications, the serious communications aren't necessarily over the apps. they're very important and they get used a great deal. when you're talking about terrorism. oftentimes it's the family and what they'll do is dumb it down. as they go to their family when they're looking for new recruits, they trust family
members for communications. and they bring it down to a simple level that's extremely tough to infiltrate. >> i appreciate your insights, thank you both. >> thank you. >> sure. a lot more to discuss today on "cnn newsroom." israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu says the obama administration quote, failed to protect israel against a gang up at the u.n. after its vote on israeli settlements. the rockettes claim they've been dance or else. what their managers are saying about a performance on inauguration day. that's all ahead, stay with us. london's got the best of everything. cornwall's got the best of everything. sport sport nightlife nightlife (both) fashion adventure i'm tellin' ya, britain is the only place you really need go. expedia.
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new diplomatic fallout after a controversial u.n. resolution passes despite pressure from israel and president elect trump. it condemns the settlements in the west bank. the vote was 14 in favor with the u.s. abstaining. u.s. ambassador to the u.n. argued it is consistent with years of u.s. policy. >> the security council reaffirmed the established consensus that settlements have no legal validity. the united states has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly for nearly five decades. >> israel has said it will not comply with the resolution. cnn's orin leber someoieberman
with the story. very sharp words for the obama administration from israel. what else are we hearing there in the country? >> reporter: well, it's a continuation of what prime minister benjamin netanyahu has said, which has been some of the sharpest criticism we have ever seen from an israeli government pointed at an american administration. the focus of that anger that fur fury for president barack obama for not votish against that veto. he said the obama administration not only failed to protect israel against the gang up at the u.n., it colluded with it behind the scenes. israel looks foerdforward to working with president elect trump and with republicans and democrats alike to negate the harmful effect of this absurd resolution. netanyahu making it clear he's done work ing with president obama and is very much looking forward to president elect trump when he takes office in a few weeks. that wasn't the end of it from
netanyahu. he took diplomatic steps against the countries, new zealand and senegal pulling the ambassadors back to israel for consultations. trump intervened in a way that's unprecedented for a president elect before he takes office. he tweeted after the vote, he said this in a short tweet, as to the u.n., things will be different after january 20th. what will be the practical effects of this resolution when president trump takes office in a few weeks? the resolution may have no effect because the resolution is a guideline or a recommendation. it would take follow up action at the u.n. action that trump promises he will not allow once he takes office. erica, needless to say, i think it will be interesting to see what happens between trump, the u.n. and israel in a few short weeks. >> that is for sure. thank you. lindsey graham has had a lot to say about the diplomatic
fallout calling president obama's policy flat out reckless. don't miss an interview with dana bash this afternoon. after the break, with president elect donald trump hitting lockheed martin ceo, we have details next. ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪
the ceo of lockheed martinsmartin is promising to cut costs. trump tweeting this week based on tremendous cost and cost overruns t overruns, i have asked boeing to price out a f-18 super hornet. this comes days after trump met with the ceos of both companies. so, jeremy, the ceo of lockheed martin saying she's ready to deliver now. >> reporter: yeah, absolutely. you know, we've seen this f-35 program has been the talk of folks in the department of defense and defense contractors, because of the cost overruns we have seen with this program. the program is already behind schedule and billions of dollars overbudget. already the pentagon has estimated to pay about $400 billion for the f-35's over the next two decades. and so we're seeing donald trump really here, you know, he met with the ceos of boeing and
lockheed martin this week. he got this personal commitment from the ceo of lockheed martin who said i heard his message loud and clear about reducing the cost of the f-35. she said she's given him her quote, personal commit to drive down the costs aggressively. this is one of the many instances in which we've seen donald trump increasingly taking an active role as president elect in negotiating deals and weighing in on substantive policy. he's been weighing in on air force one cost with the ceo of boeing. yesterday we saw him weighing on the united nations security council vote condemning israeli settlements. which donald trump was opposed. that was at odds with the obama administration which simply abstained from the united nations resolution instead of vetoing it. clearly we're seeing something which is relatively unprecedented for a president elect typically who would typically refrain from issuing
proclamations on active policy or negotiations before actually being inaugurated. >> jeremy diamond for us, thank you. while we talk a lot about as jeremy pointed out what's happening just ahead of the inaugurati inauguration. a lot of what happens happens on twitter trying to decipher it. we're talking about a letter from president vladmir putin. his hopes for the new year and donald trump's response. that's next. (announcer vo) when you have type 2 diabetes
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good morning, thanks for being with us i'm erica hill. president elect donald trump has appeared to be interested in building a relationship with russia. recent comments seem to be striking a slightly different tone. donald trump releasing a letter from vladmir putin calling for a stronger relationship between the two countries. this is both sides weigh in on expanding their nuclear weapons
capability. trump tells nbc news said if necessary let there by an arms race. in that letter putin wrote i hope after you assume the position of the president of the united states that we will be work together. trump said i hope both sides will live up to the thoughts. it's the last line that got a lot of us thinking. i want to talk to jill doherty and ryan lizza and mike baker who is a former cia cohavenvert operations operative. when you hear the line, we do not have to travel on alternative paths. it sounds like a bit of a line in the sand. how is that playing out in russia and with putin? >> i don't think it's really being perceived at that. i think president putin, i'm
sure already knows that mr. trump will be doing a lot of tweeting, will be talking in short sentences. and it's not clear always what he means. so i don't think the russian president is engaging on that level. i mean, his reaction was president putin's -- was really pretty much we want a good relationship. he was in his subtle, kind of passive aggressive way, saying that russia, too, is strong anything you do such as missile defense we can pen straigetrate. if we have a good relationship and you're not an aggressor, the united states, everything will be fine. i think there's a bit of testing and messaging, et cetera. but i do think that president putin is very happy that donald trump is in office. and hillary clinton is not. >> you bring up an interesting point. we're not always sure what he means with the tweet. yet sean spicer, incoming pres
secretary said we should take donald trump's tweets literally. when you look at this, what is the impact on the relationship moving forward, not just with russia, but the trickle down effect that we could potentially see when there is this sort of tit for tat and it's a little bit unknown? >> yeah, i think we can all drive ourselves crazy over the course of the next four years if we spent too much time trying to parse each tweet. i would prefer to see sort of message discipline begin now prior to the inauguration. in terms of playing out the communication between us and certainly russia or even china, putin i think is probably if joying this immensely, frankly right now. you know, the important thing i think sometimes to remember about vladmir putin and this count current administration, they've all gotten him wrong in a sense. he's fairly straightforward. if you take him at his word,
what he considered the greatest disaster is the fall of the sovi soviet union. everything he does is in russia's best interest. that means rebuilding the influence of the former soviet union, not just territorial but other ways. he's doing what is in his best interest. sometimes we're booking at it from a lens they're developing this best friend concept, they're going to go off on vacation. what does this mean? putin i don't think works that way. we need to step back a little bit. whether trump is misreading this, i don't know it's above my pay grade. but i don't personally think it's healthy to spend too much time trying to parse the tweets out individually right now. because otherwise like i said we'll all just drive ourselves nuts. >> we just might. ryan, when you look at this and trying to figure out as mike laid out there, the trump administration, the incoming
administration trying to figure out how to deal with vladmir putin. are they misreading some of the signs? >> well, he's completely ripped up the republican party's approach towards vladmir putin. he's -- remember, in 2012, mitt n romney said vladmir putin was the major strategic threat to the united states. a lot of democrats laughed at that. the republicans have been hawkish up until trump became their nominee. the republican party's platform was changed at the convention to downplay any giving of arms to ukraine to defend itself from russia. trump has consistently praised vladmir putin. he actually called for him to hack hillary clinton's e-mail. and he has sided with vladmir putin recently when vladmir putin attacked hillary clinton and the democrats, calling them sore losers. it's been a sort of shocking and
major reversal for republican nominee, for anyone that covers politics in washington, to see the republican party reorient itself as a pro putin party. and so i think what's going to be very interesting after january 20th when republicans control the house and senate and the white house is how much of that fight plays out and how much of trump's pro putin views control the republican party going forward. how much pushback he gets from people like john mccain and lindsey graham and marco rubio, republicans who have very strong anti-putin instincts and do not like this reorientation of american foreign policy. so that's the fight to watch and see if trump shifts on that. >> jill, for someone who has spent so much time in russia covering the situation there. how does this change thing? everything that ryan laid out for us, the way things are changing within the republican
party, does it stay that way? is that your sense after january 20th? or could there be some reckoning and a moment where all of a sudden the incoming administration and republicans realize that perhaps, while they think things are playing one way, they're clearly being played another way by vladmir putin? >> it's complicated. i mean, i was there a couple weeks ago. i think there's a lot of hope that things will change. nobody knows exactly how they will change. and there is at least among the people, i'd say in the russian government happiness about trump, but also, you know, an awareness that he may not be l able to deliver on what he says or he may change his mind or something else will happen. especially president putin, who i think reads trump pretty well. he's taking off a 25%, maybe 30% of what trump says off the top
and trying to go with this very, you know, let's get along, let's have good relations and see how it plays out. it is very complicated domestically as ryan was just pointing out. not to mention, that the president's own incoming national security staff and members of his cabinet don't agree with each other either. there could be a bit of, you know, chaos in trying to figure out what that russian policy is. i think the extraordinary thing, though, from the news conference that president putin gave yesterday, the day before, was his comments about the democrats and they should, you know, lose with dignity and then having incoming president trump quote vladmir putin. and that's raised a fire storm. >> and that had several people scratching their heads. there has been a lot of talk -- i want to make sure we can get this in -- about nuclear arms and donald trump telling nbc let it be an arms race.
sean spicer trying to classify so -- clarify the tweets and comments. let's take a listen to what he had to say. >> takes to protect the country. if another country or countries want to threaten our safety or sovereignty, he's going to do what it takes. >> he's not waiting until another country threatens us. he's making these -- >> he's making it very clear. that other countries, other companies you've seen with carrier and others, he's going to make it clear he'll be an active president that will get things done. >> meaning he will use nuclear weapons if need be? >> he will not take anything off the table. what it means is that he's not going to sit back and let another country act. >> ryan. one of the things we've seen from the president elect is whether it is business, we talked about lockheed martin and boeing, whether it's politics, international relations, oftentimes the president elect is saying things almost as a little bit of a warning shot. or a threat in some cases to see how people respond. is it the sense that that is
exactly what this is? putting it out there, testing the waters? >> that's a great way to look at it. he's not using these tweets as policy pronouncements after a traditional staff process of thinking through the available options and then coming, you know, going on to twitter and presenting it as a new policy. they literally a lot of the times seem off the top of his head. what he did with taiwan, the transition officials say that was a thought out process when he took the call from the president of taiwan, which angered the chinese. with some of the recent statements, they do seem very much like you said, they provoked -- intended to provoke, often intended to provoke outrage by his opponents. i think he wants to see how far he can push the system by saying things that are well outside of
the kind of main stream establishment thinking in washington. look, that's, you know, that's one way to look at it. but i have to admit that's a bit of a guess. he is -- there are a lot of questions about whether there's much thought put into this, if he's crazy or crazy like a fox. >> to mike baker's point we could spend all day debating with the tweets. it's interesting to see the way things are thrown out there and seeing what sticks to the wall to see -- to read the temperature in the room. we'll leave it there, appreciate y'all being with us, thank you. stay with us, "cnn newsroom" continues on the other side of this break.
smartphones exploding. >> markets tanking, then rallying. >> and a billionaire businessman winning. >> here are the top ten money stories of 2016. >> number ten. the biggest jackpot in history. power ball mania spread as the prize climbed past the billion dollar mark. on january 13th. >> three winning tickets and a record $1.6 billion power ball drawn. >> that's $187 million for each winner. don't forget after taxes. >> number nine, the donald trump stock bounce nobody saw coming. the market gyrations began as trump's victory looked more certain election night. >> u.s. stock futures are down nearly 500 points. >> dow futures kept sinking then donald trump gave his acceptance speech. promising to heal wounds. futures bounced off the lows and by the end of trading day, the
dow hit a high the next day and searched more than 1,200 points. >> number eight the crash in oil prices. a global supply glut drove crude to $26 a barrel in february. a 13 year low. by the summertime gas was the cheapest since 2004. oil prices eventually found their footing, and then surged. because of an opec deal in late november. the promises to cut production. >> number seven, apple versus the fbi. the government ordered apple to help it break into the phone of one of the san bernardino shooters. apple ceo tim cook, refused. arguing it would compromise security for all iphone users. a showdown in court loomed until an unnamed third party helped the justice department crack that phone. but it won't be the last clash between tech and the law. >> number six.
the conflict of interest battle. trump, inc. versus president trump. with stakes in more than 500 companies, donald trump has more potential business conflicts than anyone ever elected president. he has promised to address the issue in january. but ethics experts say, anything short of selling his businesses and putting the proceeds into a true blind trust don't go far enough. >> number five, exploding samsung phones. >> this is absolutely disastrous for samsung. >> the company forced to recall thousands of samsung phones. the fiasco could cost the company $10 billion in sales. apple released the iphone 7 and even without a headphone jack demand was brisk. >> number four, donald trump breaks with a 40 year tradition
by refusing to release his tax returns. the gop nominee, blamed in august by the irs for keeping them under wraps. after pages of his 1995 tax return was leaked, mr. trump seemed to confirm what many have suspected. >> did you use that $916 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes. >> of course i do. >> presidents, of course are under no legal obligation to release their tax returns. so we might still never see them. >> number three, scandal at wells fargo. two million fake accounts secretly created by employees. the bank was fined $185 million. fired 5,300 workers and dropped those sales goals, fuelling all that bad behavior. the ceo john stump was hauled before congress for a tongue lashing. >> your definition of
accountable is to push the accountable to your employees. >> wells fargo is trying to repair its shattered reputation as it faces a series of class action lawsuits and investigations. >> number two, brexit. investors around the world are in crisis mode after britain in june voted to leave the european union. the decision stunned the global markets. the british pound plunged to a 30 year low. and the dow dropped more than 600 points. >> and the vote as you might expect is having an immediate impact on markets through the world. >> a lot of fear and uncertainty. >> stocks stabilized a few days later. but brexit won't be cheap. businesses are already reporting their cutting investment in the uk. the country is facing a $31 billion budget shortfall. questions about just how britain
will lead the world's biggest trading bloc is still largely unanswered. >> number one, the deep economic anxiety threatening to end globalization. it powered donald trump's victory energized breaking news on the left, and is spreading across europe. as the working class revolts against free trade, there's a disconnect. the big headline i'll tell you here is the unemployment rate. 4.6%. unemployment at a nine year low. home prices back at all time highs. growth picking up. the middle class got a pay raise. the gulf between those doing well and those left behind is widening. the question in 2017, will populist prescriptions rescue the economically displaced or just deepen the divide? still to come, inaugurations have become star studded events. donald trump, though e is telli the celebrities to stay home,
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>> the presidential inauguration, typically a star studded affairs, throughout the years entertainers stepped up in support of the incoming kmapder in chief thchlt year, the stage may look different. joining me with more. we have less than a month to go now until the inauguration. we heard certain people will be there, they said no. >> reporter: a lot of people are talking about this because donald trump is a celebrity himself and people are saying this guy can't bring a list ter -- the rockettes accepted an invitation to perform, some of the rockettes, according to the union were expressing concern they didn't want to go. no one is being forced to go, madison square garden, which owns the rockettes released a statement yesterday saying there is no need to force anyone to
go, because they said this, for the coming inauguration, we've had more rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. look, everyone knows a listers are a staple. none of this has been typical and of course everyone knows that he likes these events to be big deals. he likes them to be show busy leading up to the republican convention, he said he wanted that to be more show biz like. back in november, his committee said that they were going to have elton john, then the spokesman said no, we're not going to be there. in response to all of this, donald trump did tweet and he said this, he said the so-called a list celebrities all wan tickets to the inauguration, look what they did for hillary, nothing, i won the people. we know the rockettes will be there, we know the mormon
tabernacle quichoir will be the and they will have a ton of great performers, we're hoping to get a bigger list. >> what he said at the end of the campaign, of course when hillary clinton was pulling out all the stops, he just said i want you, the people. that's what we heard before. it will be interesting to see who ends up gracing the stages there. >> i'm sure either way it will be something a lot of people will watch. >> yes, that is for sure. nice to see you, thank you. >> donald trump prepares for his inauguration, millions of people around the world are preparing for a visit from one man, the man of the day. we call him the big man in our house. santa, he is flying over asia, on his way to india, he visited russian and china and he has dropped off just under 2 billion
stories, first lawsuits filed in the deadly building fire in oakland, california. the parents are suing the owners and event organizers for what they say was quote horrific and dpros negligence. the fire trapped and killed 36 party goers. suffering cardiac arrest on a flight to los angeles yesterday. the actress' brother telling cnn she is in stable condition. the 60-year-old actress known as princess leia in star wars. the minnesota vikings skidded off the runway. the airport used a fire truck ladder to get the team off the plane. >> has this ever happened to an nfl team? >> let's go. here we go. >> the players seemed to be in good spirits, posting videos and this video on the team website.
>> so you all can see what is going on here. on a fire ladder. holla. how you doing down there? all right. >> taking it all in stride. the incident at the airport in wisconsin happened as the jet was taxiing to the gate. >> wintery weather affecting a lot of folks this weekend. more than 20 million could see snow, freezing rain or ice. we have dual storms sweeping the west and north east today. this is of course millions are trying to get to their destination for the holidays. meteorologist joining us with more. give us a sense of what it is looking like. >> we have two separate systems. the first one that was in the eastern half of the country this morning is pretty much for the most part finally starting to move out. that will provide relief.
now we're racing for the next system. we have all of these watches and warnings, to ice storm warnings to even blizzard warnings in place out with that next system. now, the first system we still will have some lingering showers in and around nashville and memphis today. it's a lot of rain. it has the potential for flooding. the next system brought relief to the drought stricken areas of southern california, now it will continue toward the east bringing heavy snow, potential for freezing rain and even some sleet to areas of the midwest. on the southern side of that storm, we're actually talking the potential for severe weather tomorrow. we could be looking at mainly damaging wind threat storm, also we cannot rule out the potential for tornados. now, overall, most of the rain will be on the south side of this particular system. still looking at potential up to 4 inches in some of those areas,
stretching from tennessee to arkansas. some could pick up a foot of snow in the high elevations. that bodes well for folks who want a white christmas. last year we had 37% of the country covered in white snow. glorious looking snow and a lot of these places, this year we're already above that. as of today 44% of the country is covered in snow. and really if there is any day you like to see the snow, it would be christmas day. it's probably the only day out of the year people actually hope for the snow. now, on average, this is where we normally see snowfall on christmas day. the concern, going forward, will be with all of the rain that we end up getting today in some of these places, it may actually melt some of the snow that is on the ground in the midwest and l high plains. on a lot of the major
interstates as well. >> appreciate the status, thank you. the next hour of cnn newsroom starts now. >> thanks for joining me on this christmas eve. i'm erika hill. we're following two big stories today, brand new warnings from the fbi and homeland security over possible threats from isis. they say that terror group might target churches and other holiday event ds. this of course as millions of americans prep to celebrate the biggest christian holiday. and new arrest in the christmas market attack in berlin. three men in custody accused of having ties to the man behind that grew some attack. we want to start first with that new warning about possible deletes here at home. cnn